I like to roam all over the Hamptons and with the plethora of farms, vineyards, and water there, you have a wide range of choices with a wide range of prices. Now that it’s past Labor Day, you have a better chance to score a table at these favorites.
– Noah Schwartz has brought his farm-to-table expertise from his days in Sonoma County.
Here, adding sea-to-table expertise to his repertoire, and a sophisticated knowledge of wine pairings, he brings the North Fork’s best and freshest to the table in this airy waterfront restaurant.
If you’re visiting from the Southern part of the island, you can take a ferry from Sag Harbor to Shelter Island, and a second ferry to Greenport.
You’ll feel like you’ve taken a vacation for the day. Be sure to try whatever crudo is on the menu, any shellfish (as fresh as you’ll ever have it), the BBQ duck on polenta, and filet mignon sliders. Try some local wines like Coffee Pot, which can be ordered in 3 ounce or 6 ounce pours. http://www.chefnoahs.com
Fresh Hampton, Bridgehampton
– It’s so wonderful that someone finally came up with a menu that lets you graze through a menu of the freshest of the fresh.
The name of this restaurant, helmed by Chef Todd Jacobs, tells you what to expect: everything fresh, local, and seasonal. Most of the ingredients come from the restaurant’s own garden, supplemented by produce from neighboring farms in Sag Harbor.
You can try a small portion of skate, steak, or chicken, or arrange a full medley of veggie dishes and skip the proteins entirely. All are delicious. The vibe is casual and buzzy. No reservations mean a democratic, but sometimes lengthy wait for seats.
It’s worth it. http://www.freshhamptons.com
Bay Kitchen Bar, East Hampton – You couldn’t ask for a more picturesque setting than at this open-air restaurant, seemingly set at the end of the world. All seats have an oceanview of Three Mile Harbor from the blue-and-white dining room and bar. Come early for sunset and join the group at the bar and then move to a table for a seafood feast. Recommended are the dishes featuring local catch, like the super-fresh ceviches and crudo. Try the tastings of each. The lobster roll simply dressed with mayo on a roll is a worthy exception – only Maine lobster should ever be in a lobster roll anyhow. Cocktails are well thought out. Served perfectly chilled in a metal cup filled to the brim with ice, the blackberry julep adds a Long Island twist to this Southern fave with macerated blackberries, a touch of mint, and agave. Desserts are scrumptious – if you can only order one, try the strawberry shortcake made Hamptons-style with strawberry rhubarb compote. http://baykitchenbar.com
The Lobster Roll, Baiting Hollow
-- And while on he subject of lobster rolls, I suggest you head North to The Lobster Roll in Baiting Hollow for the finest the area can offer.
The slightly more refined twin of Lunch in Amagansett, the restaurant doesn’t take reservations but it’s worth the wait. Begin your meal with creamy lobster bisque, add a palate cleanser of cole slaw, and finish with the piece de resistance, a lobster roll filled with fresh lobster and crunchy celery bits. A nice selection of North Fork wines is offered which you can also enjoy at the tasting room next door. Finish with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie - there’s even a sugarless version. Pure heaven. http://www.lobsterroll.com
-- For a meat fix that perfectly accompanies a starter of raw Montauk oysters and Peconic little necks, the sister restaurants to Manhattan’s downtown legend is the place to go.
Easy to reach from the Southampton train station, the restaurant sits in a tasteful house surrounded by lush gardens. Enjoy a trio of oysters drizzled with a tart mignonette sauce to start. Go for steakhouse perfection with a Caesar salad, the signature Delmonico steak, served sliced with grilled onions and a side of creamed spinach. The Southampton sibling adds a few special Long Island touches like seared scallops with corn pudding. The wine list is extensive so ask the sommelier for the best pairing.
Dessert is a no-brainer: the dish created by the restaurant, Baked Alaska. http://www.delmonicosrestaurantgroup.com/southampton/
Wolffer Estate and Wine Stand, Sagaponack -- Sometimes all you want is a great bottle of wine and a picnic. If that’s your mood, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Wollfers’ Estates in Sagaponack transforms the evening into a night in Tuscany… or maybe Provence. Music, wine, cheese and charcuterie all in the vineyards. Come casual or barefoot. Bring a blanket and enjoy a gorgeous sunset along with Wolffers’ crisp Summer in a Bottle rose. http://www.wolffer.com
Race Lane, East Hampton -- Race Lane in East Hampton welcomes you into its casual environment, a combination of tables, a bar, and even a sunken fireplace area for drinks and appetizers. Seafood preparations are glorious. Grilled branzino exemplifies the best of the Hamptons, served with a side of rich lobster mac ‘n cheese. Scallop crudo, drizzled with yuzu, is refreshing and delicious in its simplicity, as are the Montauk pearl oysters served with a blood orange granita. http://www.racelanerestaurant.com
Sen, Sag Harbor
-- Sen in Sag Harbor takes no reservations but you can spend your wait time watching the nightly passeggiata or walking the small town yourself. Friendly service, masterfully prepared sushi and Japanese selections are the attraction. Start with a plate of lightly salted, blistered shishito peppers, grown locally, a more interesting opener than the usual edamame. Follow this by a miso-glazed cod, also locally caught, and a selection of creative maki. If soft-shelled crab is on the menu, try it in any roll offered. A lovely selection of sakes is offered including a cold, unpasteurized Masumi. http://www.senrestaurant.com
-- Pierre’s in Bridgehampton is a casual but refined French bistro with a lively, in-the-know feel. The menu gives carnivores and non-seafood eaters something to cheer about, too, with duck, pastas, and a cheesy Alsatian tarte flambé. Try to meet charming host Pierre Weber if you can. Be sure to look around the room, as this is a favorite haunt by both “out there” and undercover celebs. http://www.pierresbridgehampton.com
Bell and Anchor, Sag Harbor
-- I know I’m sounding a bit redundant when it comes to seafood recommendations, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Bell and Anchor, sister restaurant to Sag Harbor’s wonderful Beacon and Southampton’s Red Bar. The nautical dining room is the setting for a lively evening of seafood dining. Clams, lobster, calamari, pretty much every kind of seafood is on the menu and it’s all delicious. http://www.bellandanchor.com/#oysters-to-start
Crow’s Nest, Montauk --
Another restaurant with a no-reservations policy, Crow’s Nest actually makes your waiting time a desirable experience. You can sit by the beachside bar and watch the sunset while eating oysters on the half, washed down with a specialty cocktail like a watermelon cooler or a gin concoction aptly named the Summer Rental. If it’s chilly, there’s a fire pit to cozy around. The dining room has lovely views of the harbor and a small, handwritten menu of dishes ranging from pasta with sea urchin and chilies, to locally caught striped bass and Montauk fluke crudo. The busy restaurant manages to keep a very cheerful tone with a rustic, yet polished feel. To avoid the wait, arrive by 7:15, especially on a weekend when everyone seems to want to be in Montauk. http://crowsnestmtk.com